HAGERSTOWN, M.D. (AP) — The state of Maryland has begun to deploy dogs to sniff out illicit alcohol in correctional facilities.
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Robert Green told The Washington Post the new team of canines was created in part after he saw an increase in alcohol-related activities and overdoses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many prisoners were having their meals brought to their cells, increasing the access to ingredients that can be used to make alcohol.
Green met with the K-9 Unit in April to develop a training for the dogs to detect alcohol, and within six weeks the first trainee, Gisele, was out on the job.
The new team consists of four dogs that work across the state with facilities in Cumberland, Baltimore and Jessup, Hagerstown and the lower Eastern Shore, the Post reported.
The dogs can detect the smell within minutes during searches, one handler said.
Since the team’s creation, recoveries of alcohol have tripled, according to Maj. Mark Flynn, commander of the department's K-9 Unit.